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RESURRECTION ~ God Is Raising the Dead

by Steven Ray Bragg  
2/22/2015 / Salvation


By
Steven Ray Bragg

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." (John 14:12)

This is truly an amazing promise! Those who believe in the Lord will do the works that Jesus did. But for me, the more exceptional promise is we will do greater works than what Jesus did. Up until this time, the greater works that Jesus did were healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding multitudes, freeing people of evil spirits, and setting the religious leaders straight.

Jesus cured every kind of illness; the lame, blind, lepers and diseases of all kind. The sick becoming well is an enormous blessing, especially if your illness is life-threating or debilitating. Mark likes to say when Jesus healed that He was "moved with compassion." Truly we see the loving heart of God each time He heals. BUT even those healed will be sick again, and the old decaying body will die. Physical healing has no lasting effect. It is not eternal. "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die..." (Hebrews 9:27a)

This is the same for those raised from the dead. Lazarus died again. Also, if one is delivered from evil spirits, they can come back. Even if they do not, we live in an evil world and we cannot escape its influence or troublesome life. The world is evil and corrupted. "The world is passing away, and also its lusts..." (1John 2:17a) Paul says we even battle our evil flesh. "I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good..." (Romans 7:21). As far as Jesus setting the religious leaders straight, well they killed Him.

All the works of healing, deliverance, raising the dead, feeding and confronting religion were, with the exception of revealing God through Jesus Christ, at this point significant but temporal.

The Greater Work of Salvation

Jesus raised people from the dead, what greater works can believers do? Jesus is speaking of raising the spiritually dead unto eternal life. The Apostle Paul said it like this, "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Colossians 1:13).

We, through the power of the Gospel after His death to pay for our sins and His resurrection to break the power of death, proclaim the message that raises the spiritually dead. "Even when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)" (Ephesians 2:5).

Which is the greater work, to raise someone physically from the dead only to die again? Or is it a greater work to raise someone from the dominion of darkness (eternal death) to the Kingdom of His Son (eternal life) never to die again?

When Jesus told the disciples greater works you will do is because He had not paid the price of our sins, and He had not broken the power of death yet. Jesus said they would do His works and the greater works "because I go to the Father." Jesus could only say it was at hand. Now we, through the power of the cross and resurrection, proclaim the Gospel of eternal life. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16a)

The Greater Work of a Changed Life

Just as important is the power of the Gospel to change our lives. The Apostle Paul's life is an example of the greater works Jesus talked about; his is a saved life that is changed forever and impacts the lives of countless others. Paul was a notorious persecutor of Christians. He killed them, put them in prison, and tortured them. He was on his way to the city of Damascus do this when he meets the resurrected Lord Jesus. In Paul's dramatic conversion, he not only meets the Lord on the road to Damascus, but he is baptized and commissioned within three days. Paul was entirely and utterly forgiven of his violent sins against God's people and from that point on Paul served Jesus as one of His greatest evangelists.
Paul's new life became a living testimony of the power of God's salvation and its greater work to change lives, including ours.

The Book of Acts reveals the unfolding of Paul's life as a result of his salvation. His new life brings glory to God by completing the task of delivering the message God had given him. The message Jesus gave Paul "to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God's people, who are set apart by faith in Me" (Acts 26:18 NLT).

After bringing Paul out of the darkness of persecuting the Church, Jesus the risen Christ, brought him to the Light. The message bestowed to Paul was what God had done for him and would do for everyone. Jesus opened Paul's eyes and turned him from darkness to light. This message now had greater power because it was not only God's message to the world, but Paul's life became its living testimony. The work of saving and changing Paul's life was to God's glory. Likewise, the work of God saving us and changing our lives brings glory to God.

Here is the testimony of God's great work of salvation in Paul's life: "And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, 'He is indeed the Son of God!' All who heard him were amazed. 'Isn't this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus' followers in Jerusalem?' they asked. 'And didn't he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests'" (Acts 9:20, 21 NLT)? Everyone was amazed that the same man who came to imprison them was instantly now one of them, and a new leader of God's Church, preaching the Good News. This was a shocking, striking event and testimony of God's astounding power of forgiveness offered even to Paul, and the resulting changed life.

Paul was resurrected from the dead to a new life and eternal life. "He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." (2 Corinthians 5:15) "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

"For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." (Ephesians 5:14)

God is resurrecting the dead every day! He does it through you and I proclaiming the Good News; The Gospel; our proclamation of the cross and resurrection and the living testimony of our resurrected lives are the "power of Gospel for salvation."

Our resurrected lives become the greater works of God! They are to His glory!

I'm a missionary serving in the Philippines as a church planter. To date we have started 28 new churches in the remote areas. My story is one of grace. Thank you LORD! You can follow our amazing ministry here: http://www.riverrockchurchphilippines.com/

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